Allan Stratton

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Allan Stratton, Playwright

Allan Stratton (born 1951) is an award winning Canadian playwright. He is also known for his work as a novelist.


Stratton was born in Stratford, Ontario, and was primarily raised by a single mother, who was a history teacher. At a young age, music and fairy tales inspired his love for creating, and by the age of five, he was composing and performing plays for his friends and their parents. When he was in sixth grade, he wrote a play about Henry Hudson, which was performed by his class.[1] In 1968, while still in high school, his professional writing career began when his teleplay, The Rusting Heart, was published in the literary magazine Alphabet, and eventually broadcasted on C.B.C Radio.

After graduating high school, he pursued acting at the Stratford Festival and earned his masters degree in drama at the University of Toronto. Between 1975 to 1977, Stratton wrote and acted for the Vancouver Playhouse. It was there, in 1977, where his first published play, 72 Under the 0 (later renamed Bingo!), was produced by Christopher Newton. Stratton continued to find success in the early 1980's with his farce, Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii, which would go on to be performed internationally by hundreds of productions. Following that, his satire about Mackenzie King, Rexy!, premiered in 1981. This ended up earning Stratton the Chalmers Award, the Canadian Authors’ Association Award, and the Dora Mavor Moore Award; each for Best New Play.

In 1982, he moved to New York as a member of the Playwright/Director Unit of Lee Strasberg's' The Actors’ Studio. While there, he adapted Célimare, which ended up going on tour to The National Arts Centre and aired on C.B.C. television. In 1985, his next play, Papers, premiered at the Tarragon Theatre, and won a Chalmers Award for Outstanding New Play that year. It also received a nomination for the Governor General’s Award and a Dora Mavor Moore Award in 1986.

After Stratton returned to Canada in the late 1980's, he went on to write Bag Babies, which opened at Theatre Passe Muraille in 1990. Five years later, he was commissioned by Skylight Theatre to adapt Dracula, which achieved a nominated for The Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play (Large Theatre Division) in 1995.

In the mid 1990s, Allan became head of The Etobicoke School of Arts' Drama Department.[2] During this period of time, he taught senior directing, acting and playwriting.

Satisfied with his achievements in theatre, Stratton has since left behind writing play texts[3] to become an award winning novelist. Some of his best known works include Leslie’s Journal (2000), Chanda’s Secrets (2004) and Borderline (2010). His novels have earned him numerous awards, such as The American Library Association’s “Best Books for Young Adults" (Leslie's Journal), Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Litereature (Chanda's Secrets), and the CLA Best YA Fiction Award (Borderline).

Chanda's Secrets was later made into a film, Life, Above All, by a German/South African co-production. It premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival, winning the Prix François Chalais, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2011. His latest work, The Dogs, was published in 2015, and has since been distributed internationally. It was also nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the Red Maple Award.

Additionally, he is very involved with live speaking. He has made international appearances to present speeches, workshops and readings to a wide range of audiences. He also offers readings and workshops via Skype.[4]

He currently lives in Toronto with his husband, Daniel, and their four cats.[5]



  • Bingo! (1977) (Originally titled 72 Under the 0)
  • Nurse Jane Goes To Hawaii (1980)
  • Rexy! (1981)
  • Joggers (1982)
  • Friends Of A Feather (1984)
  • Papers (1985)
  • The Hundred and One Miracles of Hope Chance (1987)
  • Bag Babies (1990)
  • A Flush of Tories (1991)
  • Dracula (1995)


  • Phoenix Lottery (2000)
  • Leslie's Journal (2000)
  • Chanda's Secrets (2004)
  • Chanda's Wars (2008)
  • Borderline (2010)
  • Grave Robber's Apprentice (2012)
  • The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish (2013)
  • The Dogs (2015)



  • Rexy!- Canadian Authors’ Association Award (1982)[6]
  • Rexy!- Chalmers Award (1981)[7]
  • Rexy!- Dora Mavor Moore Award (1981)[8]
  • Papers- Chalmer’s Award, Outstanding New Play (1985)[9]
  • Phoenix Lottery- The Stephen Leacock Award of Merit[10]
  • Leslie's Journal- The American Library Association: “Best Books for Young Adults (2002)[11]
  • Leslie's Journal- The American Library Association: "Best Reading List (2003)[12]
  • Chanda's Secrets- Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature (2005)[13]
  • Chanda's Secrets- American Library Association, Best Books for Young Adults (2005)[14]
  • Chanda's Secrets- American Library Association, Best Books for Young Adults (2005)[15]
  • Chanda's Wars- Canadian Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults Award (2009)[16]
  • Borderline- American Library Association's Best Fiction For Young Adults (2011)[17]
  • Curse of the Dream Witch- Canadian Library Association Best Book for Children Award (2014)[18]


  • Papers- Finalist: Governor General’s Award (1986)[19]
  • Papers- Dora Mavor Moore Award (1986)[20]
  • Bag Babies- Toronto Book Awards (1992)[21]
  • Phoenix Lottery- The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour[22]
  • Phoenix Lottery- The TORGI Award[23]
  • Leslie's Journal- Ontario Library Association White Pine Award (2001)
  • Chanda's Secrets- Canadian Library Association: 2005 Young Adult Canadian Book Award[24]
  • Chanda's Secrets- Ontario Library Association White Pine Award (2005)[25]
  • Chanda's Wars- Ontario Library Association White Pine Award (2009)[26]
  • Chanda's Wars- Stellar Book Award (2011)[27]
  • Borderline- Canadian Library Association: Best Young Adult Fiction Award[28]
  • Borderline- Ontario Library Association White Pine Award (2011)[29]
  • The Grave Robber's Apprentice- Governor General's Literary Award (2012)[30]
  • Curse of the Dream Witch- Silver Birch Award (2014)[31]



Name:Allan Stratton